The night I died a little


May 4, 1993

Laura came over and molested me.

She had lunch with some guy to discuss her acting career. For my lunch, I ate a big insecurity sandwich and a washed it down with tall glass of low self-esteem. She came over about 5:30 and said he was creepy. That’s all that was said.

We sat on the sofa and talked for a long time. You could feel the bright filament pulling us together. Finally, we surrendered to it. She straddled me. She gently took my face in her hands and lowered her mouth onto mine. We kissed. She unbuttoned her shirt but didn’t take it off—a move I love. She was wearing a black bra. She slowly moved her hips while kissing me. I reached behind her and unclasped her bra. She has a soft, smoky voice, like a melody, and she’d moan gently and whisper my name, which is another move I love.

Then her eyes started to water and her nose started to run. She had a severe allergic reaction to the cats. We had to get out of the apartment or she’d suffocate.

We ate dinner on 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street and took the subway to her place on the Upper East Side. She’s got a tiny apartment and a roommate so we bought some beers and went up to her roof. It was clear and cool out. We huddled close and talked and kissed. The skyline was the backdrop. It was a beautiful night that I’ll never forget. At one point, I asked if she had a boyfriend and she said, “You don’t want to talk about that now, do you?” My heart sank. I said no, I never want to talk about it, but now I do. I want to know.

It was almost morning. She walked me to the subway at 59th Street. We kissed in a vestibule at Bloomingdale’s. When she kisses me she wraps her body around me and I have to hold us both up. We broke, she looked up at me and told me I was fantastic.

I don’t know. I think I might love this girl. This actress. An actress. So predictable.

I called an allergist this morning. The initial injection would be $150, the second $90 and $30 per week thereafter. I can’t afford that. What am I going to do?


Ye Olde Me

I treated my sister to a movie while visiting Cleveland last week. I bought the tickets and thought, gee, it sure is CHEAP to see a movie here. Once inside, we discovered the young punk selling tickets gave us the senior discount without asking if we’re eligible. (We are not.) My sister thought it was a riot but I took it pretty hard.

I just had a birthday. I’ve got aches and pains after I run. I used to engage in innocent, harmless flirtations that, more often than not, were well-received. Now, women look right through me like I’m a wisp of steam that somehow got into the room. I was complaining to a friend and she said, “Welcome to being a woman over 40.” I am no longer mistaken for being younger than my actual age. That was my superpower but now it’s gone. I’ve got the deep blue blues over it.

My astrological sign is cancer. I met this fellow while walking the beach on my birthday.


The summer installation at Rockefeller Center is this 45′ high inflatable nylon ballerina by Jeff Koons.

I’ve heard some complaining about how Koons misappropriated Degas’ dancers but I’m so tired of the haters.

When the weather is bad they deflate her and take her inside.

Koons said the project is tied to a charity, The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I fail to see what the connection is.

It’s based on his steel ‘Seated Ballerina’ from his antiquity series.

74 thoughts on “The night I died a little

  1. You’re killing me. That story. You know, take off those last two sentences and it’s a perfect short story. “We kissed in a vestibule at Bloomingdales.” That’s a beautiful sentence, and whodda thunk it?
    Yeah, I had that superpower too. It’s waning. It’s waning men, hallelujah.
    Always a pleasure.

  2. You need to turn those journals into a novel.

    I like the ballerina. Especially since she’s not permanent. But given the location, shouldn’t she be putting on skates?

  3. Doesn’t using the word “molested” make it seem like you didn’t want her touching you? It does to me, so I was surprised with where the story went from there. lol

    I’m quite glad you didn’t just kick the cats out in a quest to get laid. I know numerous people who would.

    And I agree with Ross—“We kissed in a vestibule at Bloomingdale’s.”, is beautiful. Even standing alone, it’s beautiful.

    I am 48, though I hope I don’t look it, and I have also disappeared. No one notices me. Not even myself.

    • We’re talking 25 years ago and I’m pretty sure I meant ‘molested’ in the best possible way. It’s different for guys. But I see your point. I might not use that today. Or I might!

      I was wild about her but I couldn’t part with my two cats. I never would’ve forgiven myself.

      Writing and reading that Bloomingdale’s line wasn’t nearly as fun as living it.

      Ageing blows. There’s no upside.

  4. My husband recently got charged a senior price at the movie too, even though he’s not eligible yet. He didn’t realize it until later when he threw the tickets away. We had a good laugh over it. He and I are almost the same age, but I guess the teenager at the ticket counter didn’t think so. Hehe.

    I saw the nylon ballerina when I was in New York last month. Pretty cool, and I agree–no need for haters.

  5. Oh my GAWD. I laughed out loud when I read “Then her eyes started to water and her nose started to run. She had a severe allergic reaction to the cats.” Hilarious! Sorry bud. I’m not a Woody Allen fan, but THAT is classic Allen and it’s brilliant!

    Koons’ public art = sure thing, let’s party! Koons’ high art = fuck off.

    • Pretty amusing 24 years later but I can assure you I wasn’t laughing then. I wonder if she remembers that night? It had such a profound impact on me for such a long time after. I wonder if she remembers me! Same planet, different worlds.

      I sneered at Koons for a while but not anymore. I used to be disgusted but now I try to be amused.

      • I’m sure you weren’t laughing! I would surely not have been. I have those same recollections and wonderings. And yet, your deft writing skill allows us all to enjoy the folly that is not just your life, but universal. You have a talent.

        Koons: I hear ya, I’m just not there yet with him. Someone like Vollis Simpson or Warhol seeks more ‘profoundly flippant’ for my amusement.

  6. Yes, you have so many lovely lines and images.
    I feel compelled to chime in here about the invisible thing because earlier today I told someone how much I love being invisible. My ego isn’t bruised – perhaps because I’m used to it now – at 58. It’s so much easier to move through the world. I don’t miss the intrusion on my psyche – the ogling, the hoots, the almost always unwanted hitting-on that happens -at least in NYC where I grew up – beginning around 12. I don’t miss it a bit.

    • You are far more involved than I can ever hope to be. My birthday last week wasn’t even a landmark or a round number. It just hit me. I can explain why. I’m afraid to approach anyone even under the most innocent of circumstances. I’m afraid I’ll look like an old letch at this point.

      I’ve always imagined the city would be a rough place to grow up in. It’s kind of why I fled to the suburbs. Avenue B was no place for a little girl. Especially 15 years ago.

  7. Getting older truly does suck.. I look in the mirror and see wrinkles on my forehead and a scar on my lip. I do not feel time has been very kind. I look every single one of my 53 years and I feel them too. I don’t “feel” like I should be this old. Wasn’t I just 30 a couple of years ago?? I took my age and energy for granted. That was stupid…. but here I am *sigh* They say age is just a number but my number stinks! 😦
    Love the inflatable ballerina and I hope I can get to NYC while she is still there so I can see her. Sometimes I just wish I had a rewind button. I would have done things SO differently…..

    • I got away with it for a long time. I even married somebody much younger than me because she didn’t know how old I was at the onset. By the time I got my hooks in her it was too late. But that’s all over. Sampson has lost his hair. Age isn’t just a number. It never is. If it didn’t mean anything they wouldn’t bother to keep track.

      If I had a time machine there are SO MANY things I’d do differently. People who say they have no regrets have no ability to self-evaluate. How do they learn anything?!

      • Right? I do not understand the words “I have no regrets” How does one have NO regrets?? Even people who have seemingly perfect lives have regrets! I always wonder about decisions I made and decisions I will make in the future. I try not to make the ones now that I will look back on and say… “I really wish I had done that differently” and that comes with age and hopefully some wisdom 🙂

  8. Think of it this way – Laura’s cat allergy actually made that night even more memorable.
    Personally, I’ve never had the superpower of looking younger that my age. If anything, I always seem to look older – at least when people ever tried to guess my age, they always ended up higher. An extreme case was when a Buddhist monk somewhere in Southeast Asia overshot by 20+ years.

    • I’m going to respectfully disagree with that summation. I could easily come up with a scenario that would’ve beat the hell out of an allergy attack. My cats cock-blocked me!

      But now that you’re older you’ve finally caught up with your physical appearance. I, on the other hand, have begun a slow but precipitous decline. Especially difficult for someone as vainglorious as I.

      • Oh – I understood your story as if your cats merely cock-delayed by forcing you to move the action onto the Laura’s rooftop.

      • Actually, sitting on that roof and gazing at the city and kissing at Bloomingdale’s made the night special. More So than if the action has just moved to the bedroom. Maybe my cats knew what they were doing after all. See. Cats are smarter than dogs. And humans.

  9. A cat lover can’t fall in love with a woman who’s allergic to cats. It’s against the law. I’ve seen older men flirt successfully with young women. Try wearing a three piece suit and a monacle.

    • Man, I loved those two cats. Girls would routinely walk in and out of my life but they were always there waiting for me in the evening. I’d walk in and they’d come up to me an say, “Did she do it again to you? Tell us about it.” They were a great comfort.

  10. Didn’t Laura smoke a lot of cigarettes as I recall? My wife has that same allergy to cats. Reading all the replies really makes me feel old (67). It does take the pressure off of trying to impress every woman you meet because all she sees is an old curmudgeon. I like being Mr. Cellophane, once you accept it. Jeff Koons impresses me every time. If you want attention to your project or agenda, just say, “For the Children.” Was that a Lake Erie mollusk? Happy Belated Birthday!

    • Laura smoked like a chimney, which was normally a deal-breaker for me. I couldn’t stand cig smoke. But we had such great chemistry and we vibed together so well that I looked past it. What I couldn’t look past was her allergy to cats.

      Thanks for the bday wishes, Mr. Cellophane. That shouda been my name. ‘Cause you can look right through me. Walk right by me. And never know I’m there

  11. Save a couple bucks when you can, I say, Mark. Vanity buys us zippo, as the fading superpower proves. I hear ya, man, thinking I’m few years your senior as I’m heading to the big, scary 6-0 this year. Oy.

  12. What a great opening sentence.

    You hopeless romantic. You should’ve shaved the kitty, yes, lets say kitty…

    Happy birthday. Don’t worry about the age thing. Guys get away with it much better than women so quit yer moanin’ you look just fine.

    I kind of like the ballerina. I don’t understand the connection to missing children but then I don’t understand the connection to pretty much anything.

    • I forgot ‘molested’ can beer a bad thing. Not in this case, it wasn’t. As bad as I wanted it to work with her I never once gave serious thought to getting rid of (or shaving) the kitties. Girls come and go. Kitties are forever.

      Thank you for your charitable words. Much appreciated. As far as the art, sometimes there’s nothing to understand. Just look at it.

  13. A great and well written snippet, that. I agree with others saying there’s probably a good book in these, but I can also see how the small bites might not make a meal, so to speak. When I was 23, I worked with a guy who was 26, and I remember thinking my god, how’d you get to be so old? Now I’m 46.

    • I’m too vainglorious to reveal my true age but let me just say this is the wrong place to come for sympathy. I have sympathetic feelings but I need them all to fuel my own narcissism and self pity. Attractive, I know. Thanks for your kind words.

  14. Actress girl sounds like a good time. Whispering your name is a move that will get any guy going a little bit, and she sounds like she had a few good moves up her sleeve. I always wonder how these things ended, but I’m guessing this one ended when she went back to the boyfriend. That’s how many of my stories like this ended – spoiler alert!

  15. Sugar, I’m 67 and if I get a second look or a smile, no matter what the reason, I am happy! My Mama died when she was 62, so I’m taking it all as a good sign! 😉 I guess that for me, my kids are getting older, but I’ve not quite grasped the fact that I really am, too!

    But enough about me, this is YOUR blog! Your “Tales from the Plastic Bin” are always a treat and I’m happy I get to read them. Re: the ballerina, LOVE IT! (and fuck the haters, they can go look at something else!) xoxoxo

    • You might be 67 on paper but you’ve got the fight and vigor of someone half your age. Maybe it’s got something to do with living in the south.

      I love tales from the plastic bin. Wish I’d thought of it first.

  16. You fell in love so easily back then you chivalrous bastard… i’d have never asked about a boyfriend until i was leaving the next morning and i’d have given some money to the roomie to go out and get a bite to eat and a drink for a few hours… and i got a post coming about getting old lol, shit ain’t fun and i keep forgetting i’m not in my 20’s, half tempted to call it Exile on Pain Street…

    • It’s not flattering to think I’m someone who fell in love so easily but I guess that’s true. I wish I could’ve looked at the whole escapade as more of a fun amusement park ride instead of taking it so damn seriously. I think that’s what she did. It’s a more healthy attitude.

      Getting old blows. I’m mistaken for someone who is my age. That’s a new sensation. Me no likee.

  17. Somebody should let the inflatable ballerina fly free high into the sky…
    Meanwhile, I look okay so long as I’m never seen in harsh lighting, which includes daylight.

  18. I think you’se are rocking the the aging thing, yer a handsome man Mark!
    I’m learning to embrace getting old, my beard is almost two years old now, I wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Vikings. My mouthy sister-in-law says it ages me and I could look so much younger if I shaved it off. Look younger for who?
    Isn’t Vestibule a lovely word?

    • Well, thank you, sir. I don’t feel it anymore. I used to feel people were charmed by my escapades but now I sense they’re a bit annoyed. I’m the same person. Just packaged differently. Melancholy me.

  19. It would take very little indeed to shape that into a short story that Wigleaf would publish, I’m convinced. Try it, you must know how good you are.

    Misappropriated my arse, artists have been responding to other artists forever. I don’t mind people disliking art work (or anything), and I don’t mind them saying so, but I do mind them trying to justify their stance by talking shite. I love you line: ‘when the weather is bad they deflate her and take her inside.’ I might appropriate it for a poem…

    Happy birthday, belated.

    Ageing, it’s awful: when I was 30 I looked 17 (everyone thought my husband was my dad!), when I was 40 I looked 30, now I’m 56 no one even blinks when I tell them. I expect when I’m 60 I’ll look 70…

  20. The ballerina looks like a giant christmas ornament! i like her!

    You should embrace your invisibility. i’ve been invisible since i turned 40. i could rob banks in fucking daylight, without a weapon, or a note. just walk in, go behind the counter and start taking money. invisibility is a superpower if you know what you’re doing….

Vent Central:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s